After 102 years, it’s hard not to see something on a football field that has never been seen before. Yet, late in the Vikings‘ wild win over the Bills on Sunday, Pro Bowl wideout Justin Jefferson made a catch that was truly one of a kind.
The catch reinforced Jefferson’s status as one of the best offensive players in today’s game. Still just 23 years old, Jefferson has already eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards this season. His 69 catches so far match the total Randy Moss had for the entire year when he captured Rookie of the Year honors following his historic 1998 season with the Vikings.
Like Moss, Jefferson is now the owner of one of the 10 greatest catches in NFL History. Below is a ranking of the NFL’s best catches so far, along with the criteria of how we came up with the list.
- Difficulty of the catch
- Individual significance of the catch
- Historic significance/magnitude of the catch
Honorable mention: Marvin the Martian
Marvin Harrison snared a host of catches that were otherworldly during his Hall of Fame career with the Colts. His best catch may have been his touchdown grab in a 2005 regular-season win over the Patriots. Harrison was able to stab at the ball with his left hand, enough to bring it closer to his body. Harrison then corralled the ball while keeping his feet in bounds. The catch, which occurred in front of a “Monday Night Football” audience, would surely have had a similar impact as OBJ’s catch eight years later had social media existed.
10. Jefferson’s grab cracks the list
Only 10, you ask? Jefferson’s catch was unreal, as he literally pulled the ball out of the defender’s grasp with one hand while falling to the ground, then securing the ball before it could touch the ground. But since it just happened (in a regular-season game, no less), it doesn’t have the same historical significance as some others. If the Vikings end up winning — or at least getting to — the Super Bowl based on the impact on this catch, rest assured that it will move up several spots at season’s end.
Randy Moss made breathtaking catches over defenders so routine that the term “Mossed” was coined in his honor. He made such a catch in front of All-Decade defensive back Darrelle Revis. It was catches like this that made Moss a first-ballot Hall of Fame induction.
8. Rice being Rice
While Moss has put it into question, Jerry Rice still holds the mantle as…